Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University (1986)
M.A., International Christian University (1975)
B.A., State University of New York at Buffalo (1971)
A.M. (honorary), Amherst College (2000)

Teaching interests

I direct the Japanese Language Program within the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations. Our program offers a variety of Japanese courses, from beginning to advanced levels. The strength of our program is the ability to teach each student the importance of understanding the logical part of the language (grammatical structures) thoroughly, the culturally appropriate uses of the language (pragmatic aspects), and how to be an independent learner of this language. Focusing on these aspects entails teaching each student to restructure her or his cognitive structures in a conscious way (I call this approach the metacognitive approach). In the very beginning of this restructuring process, the difficulty that every student faces is the coordination of the separate skills (speaking, reading, writing, and listening), which they eventually have to use simultaneously. Until the simultaneous language act becomes possible, we provide instruction and practice for each separate skill in a way that suits each individual student’s needs (I call this method the stage-step method). Details of this approach and method can be found at

Recent awards and honors

Five College Innovative Language Teaching Fellowship Award (Mellon Grant) for developing online materials for Japanese courses. Summer 2018 ($22,950)

Five College Mellon Grant for Blended Learning, 2014-2015 ($10,000)

Willem Schupf Professorship, 2013 – present

Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, 2009-2011 ($150,000)
Teaching Japanese grammar at high school and grammar approach in the category 4 languages

Grant from the Shoyu Club, Japan, 2006-present
Classroom renovation; summer study in Japan for two Amherst students

Faculty Research Awards, Amherst College, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2000, 1989

The William R. Kenan, Jr. Professorship, Amherst College, 2004

Senior Sabbatical Fellowship, Amherst College, 2002-03, 2009-10, 2016-2017, 2023-24

Named Bruss Reader, Amherst College, 2000-2002

The Japan Foundation, 1999
The Japanese Language Teaching Materials Donation Program

The Culpeper Foundation, 1998
For textbook and software development


See also: Research Interests and Selected Publications